Perfecting Scones – The Milk Variable and Resting the Dough

L-R 50ml 75ml 100ml - Fridge

It’s been some time since my last post because I’ve been away on holidays in Italy, but I’m back now and ready to bake yet more scones! This time, the milk variable – how much? I also tested the option of putting the dough in the refrigerator overnight before baking, the idea for which came from Azelia (as does the basic recipe).

I kept to my standard recipe, which is Azelia’s, but then altered the milk in the batch. One had 50ml (which would proportionately be the same as her recipe), one had 75ml and one had 100ml. I was baking while dealing with children, so no photos of the mixes. The 50ml was quite firm while the 100ml was pretty sticky (and I think using sugar affects this too).

Milk variable results

I initially felt the 50ml we best, but in the end Mark and I both opted for 75ml. 50ml felt a little dry, 100ml was getting a bit away from being a scone and was a smidge ‘bouncy’ rather than buttery.

L-R 50ml No Fridge Fridge

L-R: 50ml No Fridge v 50ml Fridge

L-R 75ml No Fridge Fridge

L-R: 75ml No Fridge  v 75ml Fridge

L-R 100ml No Fridge Fridge

L-R: 100ml No Fridge v 100ml Fridge

You can see from the pictures that the higher liquid ones bulged out rather than puffed upwards, but they were still light and lovely, just not as melt-in-the-mouth as the less milky ones. But I’d prefer 75ml over 50ml as it just a smidge more soft and moist. That said, the difference was surprisingly small despite the big variation in quantity. 100ml was a bit tricky to handle.

I think mine needs more milk than Azelia’s because I used bread flour and she uses all-purpose flour. Bread flour can hold a bit more liquid and not be sticky (and vice versa needs a bit more liquid to make a soft dough).

Fridge variable results
L-R: 50ml 75ml 100ml - No fridge

Without resting in the fridge L-R: 50ml, 75ml, 100ml

With resting in the fridge L-R: 50ml 75ml 100ml

With resting in the fridge L-R: 50ml, 75ml, 100ml

You can see that the ones that were rested rose a bit more and they were a little lighter. It didn’t have a huge impact, but we could just tell the difference and preferred the ones that had been rested. Azelia points out that you don’t need to leave them overnight – she tested it and 2 hours is sufficient. I’d second that, particularly if your ingredients are already cool.

Conclusion

On balance, I’d rest the dough before cutting scones out. 2 hours or so would be good, but a bit more or a bit less would be fine.

I’ve revised the recipe (I’m not calling it mine, because it’s still really Azelia’s with a few tweaks) to:

  • 500g bread flour
  • 4.5 tsp baking powder
  • 95g sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 150ml milk
  • 2 eggs

A few more things to test and then on to the next project. I want to tweak the amount of sugar and see what happens. I also want to compare butter incorporation – whether to rub to complete breadcrumbs, or leave some big flakes. I’ll also end this project with a bunch on other tips I’ve gleaned from my own experience and from other blogs and recipes. I’m getting a bit sick of eating scones so it’s good that the end is in sight.